New Jersey Says 141 Sex Offenders Use My Space

By Jon Hurdle

More than 140 sex offenders convicted in New Jersey had profiles on the networking Web site MySpace, the state's attorney general said on Tuesday.

New Jersey is among several states leading the way in working with MySpace to curb online sexual predators.

Of the 141 sex offenders identified as having been active on MySpace,

80 were found to be on parole or probation, and officials are working to determine if those individuals violated the terms of their sentences, said David Wald, a spokesman for New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram.

The identified individuals may now be subject to tougher prohibitions against using the Internet, Wald said.

Those identified are among a national total of about 7,000 registered sex offenders whose names were deleted and handed over by Fox Interactive Media, the owner of MySpace, to law enforcement authorities in all 50 states in late May.

"We have proof in hand to confirm the worst fears of New Jersey's concerned parents and educators: that sex offenders are active on Web sites used by children and educators," Milgram said in a statement.

Milgram called the information provided by MySpace a first step and warned that other sexual offenders may still be surfing the Internet.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one in seven American children between the ages of 10 and 17 is sexually solicited online.

Officials are now working with MySpace to determine whether the identified sex offenders solicited any children for sex while active on the Web site.

To protect children from sexual predators, Milgram urged parents to keep computers in common areas of the house rather than in a child's bedroom, to monitor the Web sites they visit, and to warn children about the dangers of sexual predators.

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.

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Jon Hurdle, Reuters
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